Is Mike Pence the big threat to Palin in the primaries?

posted at 8:45 pm on December 2, 2010 by Allahpundit

Matt Lewis wonders.

Though Pence says he won’t decide on whether or not to run for president until next year, conservative leaders I spoke to were equally as bullish on Pence.

Chris Chocola, president of the powerful fiscally conservative Club for Growth tells me Pence may benefit from being less well known, and less of a lighting rod than Palin. He also notes that “[Pence's] conservative credentials are really unquestionable.”

“[Pence] appeals to every group that Palin appeals to — and probably a little more,” says Chocola.

“Pence is Palin with gravitas. Pence is Palin with experience,” adds Brent Bozell, chairman of For America.

Regarding experience, FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey says of Pence: “He’s been a rock solid fiscal conservative, showing up not only for the high profile TARP and ObamaCare battles, but also championing issues that are maybe less glamorous politically, but are critically important for our country, such as fundamental tax reform, specifically the flat tax.”

I’ve written about this a bit before. The guy who’s usually mentioned as the threat to Palin is Huckabee, of course, because they’d compete for social conservatives. But establishment Republicans dislike Huck almost as much as they do Sarahcuda, as he’s ever eager to remind us. So imagine for a moment that you’re Karl Rove, nervously weighing the possibility that one of those two will be the nominee. You can try to head them off by pushing Romney or Daniels or Thune, but then you run the risk of a pure “centrists vs. the base” primary — and because the base tends to be more motivated to turn out, they’d have the upper hand. The alternative is to try to coopt part of the base by backing a compromise candidate instead, someone who might be more fiscally and/or socially conservative than the establishment would prefer but who would peel off base voters from Huck and Palin and would stand a better chance of appealing to centrists against Obama. That’s Pence. He’s got 10 years of legislative experience, he’s deeply respected by fiscal cons and social cons, he gives a good speech, and he’s less ostentatious about “values” than Huckabee is so he runs a smaller risk of alienating moderates in the general election.

What he doesn’t have is name recognition, and he’ll need to catch up on that in a hurry to have a serious chance against Palin and/or Huck. Which makes me wonder if, in the next few months, we aren’t about to see a serious public pro-Pence push among people like Rove and other GOP chieftains. I’ve been assuming that we’d see that on Daniels’s behalf, but between his gaffes about calling a truce on social issues and the calculus I described above about needing base voters to win, maybe Beltway types will give up on him as a lost cause and back Pence, the other Hoosier, instead. The big question is whether he’s willing to run for president now or if, as rumored, he’s thinking of running for governor first with an eye to 2016. He’d be a formidable candidate then too, especially with some executive experience under his belt: None of the obvious contenders — Christie, Rubio, Jindal — are especially closely identified with social conservatism, so Pence could clean up. Still, that’s a tougher field than 2012 would be, so maybe GOP insiders could persuade him to go for the big prize now by promising to back him. Honestly wouldn’t surprise me. Exit question: Would it work?

Update: A commenter reminds me that Palin said she won’t run if another satisfactorily conservative candidate steps up. Well, by virtually any measure, Pence would qualify as satisfactory. Is that reason enough for the establishment to try to push him into the race — to call Palin’s bluff on that promise?


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Who is Mike Pence and why should I care? If you don’t like Sarah Palin, why not just re-elect Obama? What’s the big deal?

/Rush

long_cat on December 3, 2010 at 10:49 AM

From where I sit, it would appear that he lacks fundraising capability.

Who knows? Nice guy, seems grounded, and totally undiscussed.

But, the reality is, that even Mitt Romney goes on Letterman, gets his attention, and what is he asked? “What do you think about Palin running?”

Sorry, but she’s the only one being discussed for real.

AnninCA on December 3, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Pence: another lawyer as US president, just what we need.

NORUK on December 3, 2010 at 10:53 AM

It’s just all about Palin, and I tend to think this is the Little Red Hen theory playing out.

She stuck her neck out.
She raised the money for candidates.
She endorsed the long-shots.
She took the hits when they didn’t win and the kudos when they did.

And she has definitely earned the right to throw her hat in the ring.

The rest of them need to answer their OWN questions.

First, to Mitt. Since you lost soundly last time, what makes you think that you can muster support THIS time around?

To Mike? Where’s your fundraising arm, guy?

To Huckabee? Don’t you think that your weak showing last time might just be repeated?

Time for the GOP to get real. You trash her? And she storms the party?

THEN, it’s on your heads if you lose the WH in 2012.

AnninCA on December 3, 2010 at 10:56 AM

Jenfidel on December 3, 2010 at 10:28 AM

Maybe it was because unseen and gary make up half the palin posts. You can see what I was talking about with the link I posted above your comment.

AnninCA on December 3, 2010 at 10:56 AM

He hasn’t even declared yet. I don’t understand your love for Sarah since you’re a staunch social liberal. She’s losing Missouri, let along that left wing CA.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 3, 2010 at 11:02 AM

*alone

TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 3, 2010 at 11:02 AM

littleguy on December 3, 2010 at 10:48 AM

Unfortunately, with his lack of name recognition, It really won’t matter unless he runs and gets some exposure. Too soon to know.

KCB on December 3, 2010 at 11:03 AM

TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 3, 2010 at 10:19 AM

I hadn’t seen the MO poll, but now that I have I must say that it is hardly DAMNING for Palin in Dec. 2010. She only trails Obama by 3 pts probably within margin of error. And you cite the MO poll instead of all of the primary polls in so many other states (WV, WI and others) in which she is ahead or VERY close. You are cherry picking your polls.

I don’t understand your love for Sarah since you’re a staunch social liberal. She’s losing Missouri, let along that left wing CA.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 3, 2010 at 11:02 AM

Also, why should you not understand this. If you listen to Sarah or (HEAVEN FORBID) read her book, you will see that she values INDIVIDUAL freedoms when it comes to social issues and is not the crazy right wing religious zealot as the media likes to portray.

Dan Pet on December 3, 2010 at 11:14 AM

He hasn’t even declared yet.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 3, 2010 at 11:02 AM

And she hasn’t yet.

TheAlamos on December 3, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Time for the GOP to get real. You trash her? And she storms the party?

THEN, it’s on your heads if you lose the WH in 2012.

AnninCA on December 3, 2010 at 10:56 AM

Silly girl – they’ll never see themselves as the problem. The’ll blame those “Palinistas” who didn’t fall in line.

katiejane on December 3, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Why would he be anymore of a threat than Romney/Gingrich/Huckabee, et al? But he’s welcome to throw his hat in the ring and fight for the nomination just like everyone else should have to do–and may the better candidate win. My money is on Palin but I welcome all challengers. No one should be annointed by the machine or hand-picked by the media. Let the voters decide.

Redneck Woman on December 3, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Redneck Woman on December 3, 2010 at 11:23 AM

You are correct..They all should run if they want to!..:)

Dire Straits on December 3, 2010 at 11:27 AM

Dan Pet on December 3, 2010 at 11:14 AM

MO is the most red of the tossups. If awful candidates like Huck/Mittins can easily beat the tool there, and Palin can’t, she’s doa in the blue tossups, eg PA, MI, WI. I’m socially liberal except on abortion, but we need the social cons on board otherwise the election is over.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 3, 2010 at 11:36 AM

TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 3, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Tim, you are making way too much of that MO poll.
I find it hard to believe that either Huck or Mittens has that much support in the “Show Me” state.

Jenfidel on December 3, 2010 at 11:40 AM

since you’re a staunch social liberal. She’s losing Missouri, let along that left wing CA.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 3, 2010 at 11:02 AM

Are you seriously looking for a GOP candidate who can “storm” CA?

OK. *laughing*

OK….coughing here, and back to being civil. Please do note that CA just voted back in Jerry Brown as governor, the aging liberal.

AnninCA on December 3, 2010 at 11:44 AM

My position is really simple. I believe in voters, in letting voters decide. And I definitely can say that Sarah has earned the right to run.

I don’t know what kind of odd GOP value would suggest otherwise. If they wish to continue to be the party of the country club and insiders, I suppose it makes sense to trash her.

But then, I can tell you for sure. I’ll just not vote on the presidency. Let Obama rewin.

That type of GOP party doesn’t interst me in the least, and I won’t even feel a pang when they lose.

So either these words from the congresspeople about really hearing voters is real or not.

But I can tell you that Mitt’s “first” real political outreach, which was, appropriately, on Letterman….is disgusting to me.

And I’m happy to see that Palin responded very kindly.

Mitt is not going to win anything. Get over it.

AnninCA on December 3, 2010 at 11:49 AM

MO is the most red of the tossups. If awful candidates like Huck/Mittins can easily beat the tool there, and Palin can’t, she’s doa in the blue tossups, eg PA, MI, WI. I’m socially liberal except on abortion, but we need the social cons on board otherwise the election is over.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 3, 2010 at 11:36 AM

I think the GOP party has a big choice about Palin. They trash her like they did other women candidates?

They deserve to lose.

This is an opportunity for them. Let’s see how they really, really respond.

I predict they are DC insiders, poisenous to the people, and should be voted out without thought.

AnninCA on December 3, 2010 at 11:51 AM

It looks like Allah has seen the writing on the wall and is dropping Mitt for Mike. Why can’t you people let Sarah do her thing and if she wins support her? Why must there be all of this maneuvering behind the scenes to discredit her? Gravitas? Ha Ha! Pence? The first thing out of his mouth recently was how important abortion is to conservatives! We don’t need a nanny for president we need a leader who is not afraid of the big boys. That leader is Sarah Palin!

inspectorudy on December 3, 2010 at 11:57 AM

She’s losing Missouri, let along that left wing CA.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 3, 2010 at 11:02 AM

She’ll win MO if/when it comes down to it. Obama is exceptionally unpopular here and I imagine will only become more so over the next two years. the conservative parts of the state love her, the reason her numbers are so poor is that Democrats dislike her much more intensely than Republicans like her. That will change when it gets closer to having to reelect Barry.

alwaysfiredup on December 3, 2010 at 12:37 PM

That leader is Sarah Palin!

inspectorudy on December 3, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Yes, but the Democrats, RINO’s and fair-weather conservatives fear and loathe her. They are more comfortable with a marxist failure like Obama than with the strength and conviction she would bring to the office.

Extrafishy on December 3, 2010 at 12:42 PM

Okay, after last night’s putrid invectives (especially dakine, whose lack of logic and attacks that weren’t even remotely funny enough to overlook the ad hominems), I just have to say a few things.

I like Sarah. She’s smart, spunky, and capable. I think she’s handled most of the issues in the past year or so really well, and has taken the fight to the media and the Dems.

I DON’T love her. Her straightforward manner of speaking could really use improvement (although that shouldn’t prevent her being elected…it didn’t with W). I’m not sure if she’s ready to be Prez, but I KNEW Obama wasn’t ready, and nobody wanted to hear that 2 years ago.

What I take issue with is the abject HATRED spewn in her direction, from the Left and the Right (well, so-called Right). I don’t see this level of poison directed at anyone else in politics, and that’s what I don’t like. Ferraro and Hillary have experienced this to a smaller degree, but not quite the level of Sarah.

And yes, this time I do think it’s because she’s a woman, and because she’s also Conservative it’s 10 times harder.

And I’ve noticed the same behavior exhibited towards women on this thread who support her. Granted, the worst emanated from dakine, who would’ve been charged with sexual harassment if he’d pulled this stunt at the office.

If Moderates are so sure Palin’s NOT the one (like Palinistas do), then just identify a public figure with whom you most relate on the issues. That’s all I saw Palinistas request last night, and NO Moderate could name ONE PERSON. They could barely focus on what issues they thought were most important to them, or Hell, even what issues might be most important to the electorate in 2012.

It’s incredibly Nihilistic. The conversations only devolve into name-calling and projection. If they could actually offer up some cogent points, it would give the Palinistas some idea where they stand.

But maybe they don’t really know where you stand. I don’t care, but I do expect posters to be honest about that.

Instead they only focused on getting Palinistas to highlight her flaws, and that’s not their job. And it’s completely POINTLESS to discuss the media’s impact on her or her family, or how her credibility’s affected by all these TV shows.

Moderates, you either vote FOR her or you DON’T. No TV appearance will change that.

KNOWING WHERE SHE STANDS ON THE ISSUES SHOULD IMPACT YOUR VOTE.

Can we please focus on that FOR ONCE?

Even if we’d not seen this level of juvenilia, I think Moderates need to understand some basic fundamentals regarding the parties (as too many seem to be missing the point):

1. You are not the base of the Republican Party. Conservatives are. You ran it for a few years (into the ground). Base is taking it back.

2. You are either fiscally Conservative or you’re not. If you are, then you need to choose if you vote fiscal policies or social ones. Time to nut up or shut up.

3. If you’re not, you’re a Democrat. Vote that way.

I frankly DON’T CARE if you swing one way or the other based on whatever you’re feeling that day. If you can’t settle on where YOU stand on the issues, then vote for the candidate that most reflects that, THEN I CAN’T HELP YOU.

BUT AS A MEMBER OF THE BASE, I DON’T HAVE TO LISTEN TO YOU. THAT’S WHY YOU NEED TO PICK A DAMN PARTY!

Sorry to all who’ve actually discussed the issues last night, but I’m a former Moderate who ALWAYS voted on fiscal issues. I just knew I had to PICK which affected my life more, and work from there. All I seem to see now is Moderates telling the base they’re to blame when Moderates (in open primaries) are the ones who selected the crappy no-win Republican candidate YET AGAIN. I’m sick of it.

Miss_Anthrope on December 3, 2010 at 2:15 PM

Miss_Anthrope on December 3, 2010 at 2:15 PM

Feel better now after that bowel movement of a post?

dakine on December 3, 2010 at 4:38 PM

ADD HIM TO THE HARRYs

redneck hippie on December 3, 2010 at 7:39 PM

Miss_Anthrope on December 3, 2010 at 2:15 PM

thanks for that clear and level headed synopsis. It came in handy for me because I didn’t have time to read all the posts on 7 pages.

Elisa on December 4, 2010 at 1:14 AM

@Miss_Anthrope,
I am not a Sarah Palin fan but your post was good and to the point.

Whether we support Palin or not, we can all agree that she has gone through some of the worst gutter politics that one individual politician has been subjected to even though she has been in the national political scene for a mere two years.

BTW, you should consider changing your HA handle -cute as it is, you are no misanthrope.

nagee76 on December 4, 2010 at 7:21 AM

Is Pence a “threat” to Palin? Not really. I’m sure he’ll be the next “savior from Palin” for the GOP intelligensia, after Daniels and Pawlenty flopped.

But, you may very well end up with her backing him, or someone like him. She knows where she currently stands with independents and conservative Dems. My belief is she’s going to try hard to improve that standing over the next ten months or so and then assess where she and the other candidates are. If she thinks she can be competitive in both the primaries and general election, she’s in. If she doesn’t think so, she will back the candidate most like her in beliefs and outlook. That person could very well be Pence. But whoever it is, that candidate will experience what Nikki Haley did here in SC — being suddenly catapaulted into the top tier, if not the lead. As for me, I am a Palinista and will follow her lead. I trust her judgment.

SCSoxFan on December 4, 2010 at 10:57 AM

Pence is a freakin’ talk show host. NOT qualified for President. Let him run for Governor, serve a successful term or two to show he can manage an organization, then he can run for President.

Haven’t we suffered enough at the hands of the inexperienced already?

Adjoran on December 4, 2010 at 2:15 PM

OK – TIME OUT! First, all Palin worshipers, it is obvious you know little to nothing about Mike Pence based on your comments so how about finding out before you start bashing the guy? Now to the topic at hand, I like Sarah Palin, I agree with her on the issues and I like her “I take no crap off nobody” attitude. That said, she has some SERIOUS baggage, some of it her own fault, some of it the fault of the GOP establishment/McCain et al. That baggage, FAIR OR NOT, is enough reason to look at who else MIGHT be an option in 2012. Of what I have heard floated thus far, Mike Pence is the best as far as conservative bona fides go. I have followed the career of Mike Pence for a while, gotten to hear him speak at several different venues and he is as conservative as they get, and every bit as conservative as Palin, he is just less offensive. Also, to be honest, he has actually proven himself in the field of battle in DC, standing up even to the rest of the GOP leadership and the Bush on TARP. Palin might end up being the best choice, given other options, but she might, not, and this article is saying is that if she wants teh nomination her greatest threat might not come from the names everyone is already talking about.

Govgirl on December 4, 2010 at 5:58 PM

Mike Pence would make an excellent president. I could get behind him with enthusiasm. He’s the real deal. Quiet competency.

Boxy_Brown on December 6, 2010 at 4:49 PM

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